Minnesota Public Safety Department monitoring COVID-19 impacts on fire departments

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the state, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division (DPS-SFMD) is working with fire service leaders to monitor state fire departments.

DPS-SFMD said it has created a statewide status map to monitor the service levels of the 776 departments in the state.

The Plato Fire Department went out of service earlier this week due to COVID-19 but is currently the only department to do so. DPS also lists 21 other departments as affected by COVID-19 but still available to operate and two others that are significantly affected but still operating.

DPS-SFMD said fire departments have local mutual aid partners they have turn to for help if necessary, and the state is ready to send additional help through the Intrastate Mutual Aid Plan, if necessary.

According to DPS, the plan has been used twice this year: for the Northern Metal fire in Becker and civil unrest in May.

"We are confident the Minnesota fire service will continue doing what they do best — keeping their communities safe," State Fire Marshal Jim Smith said.

Smith added, "We are prepared for situations like this. There are robust plans in place to continue the delivery of emergency services promptly and safely."